Giant Bomb Review

41 Comments

South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play! Review

4
  • XBGS

Almost in spite of itself, this is both a solid tower defense game and a good piece of fan service for South Park fans.


See? Totally tower defense. 
A tower defense game based on South Park sounds like it could be a predictable, lazy product, don't you think? Take a well established and arguably overused gameplay blueprint and use it to slap a licensed property onto Xbox Live Arcade, then call it a day. I guess it's surprising, then, that the aptly titled South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play! doesn't feel shoddy or half-baked after all. It's both a fully competent tower defense game and, despite a lack of any new animation, a good vehicle for South Park's ridiculous brand of humor as well.

In a way, Xbox Live Arcade sort of has its own version of PixelJunk Monsters now. That game extended the standard tower defense concept by turning your abstract cursor--the thing you use to determine where you build different sorts of towers--into an actual character. But all that character could really do was pick up money dropped from enemies, which you then spent on more towers. This South Park game further extends that concept by giving you not one but four onscreen characters who can build towers, and it also gives those characters an attack.

Guess who those initial four characters are? Right--Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman, all of whom can throw snowballs at enemies. You can also charge up the snowballs to make them yellow (and more powerful), and each character has a special attack that damages all the enemies onscreen, spawns a bunch of bonus money, amps your attack power, and so on. There are a ton of other playable characters you can unlock from the series too, from Jimmy and Clyde to Bebe and, yeah, Timmy. They all have their own tasteless specials that involve things like crutches and colostomy bags. (Yep, definitely South Park.) The characters are all different enough from each other in terms of speed, power, special abilities, and voiceovers to make them all at least worth messing around with.

There's plenty of trademark characters in here.      
South Park is generally playable by yourself, but you have to switch between the characters on the fly, which gets almost unreasonably fast-paced and difficult on the normal setting by the end of the game's 11 normal levels. The best way to play it is with two (or three or four) people each controlling different characters, which lets each character build towers, collect coins, and throw snowballs independently. Characters who aren't currently selected will at least throw snowballs on their own, so you can use them as mobile towers, but they won't move themselves out of danger or charge their snowballs up. The easy setting is much more forgiving, however, and it won't affect your achievements or completion of the game. So if you're having trouble, there's no shame in admitting defeat and dropping the difficulty level.

Mechanically, this is tower defense through and through. The enemies run the gamut of antagonist groups from the series, including terrorists, sixth graders, hippies, homeless people, Scott Tenorman, the dreaded Christmas critters, and, yes, crab people. (Craaaab people, craaaab people.) As per the genre's standards, each is weak to different kinds of towers, which include baseball launchers, and the Pee-tron, a mounted contraption that sprays cat urine. I hear that stuff can get you high. You can build walls out of snow to create lanes for the enemies to wander through, exposing them to your towers for longer. That's what this genre is all about, and South Park does a perfectly adequate job of it.

These stills are a fine vehicle for South Park's absurd humor.
Given the extremely short production time on episodes of South Park, it's a little disappointing there's no new animation in this game. But there's a huge amount of original voiceover for all of the characters, and the story is told with a graphic novel style of still frames that gets the job done pretty well, especially with all of the new dialogue. The ridiculous story, which basically just moves you from one familiar South Park location to the next, affords the appearance of some peripheral series favorites like Jimbo and the owner of City Wok, who has erected a Great City Wall around town. (Listening to him scream frantically about defending his City Wall had me in stitches, but maybe I'm just easily amused.) It's all funny, ludicrous stuff that makes you assume Trey Parker must have had a hand in the story, because it feels authentic. (He appears to have only been an executive producer, though.) You can at least unlock a ton of video clips of some of the show's finer moments, and there's plenty of the series' trademark humor all over this game, even if there isn't any new footage to look at.

Realistically, you'd need to be a fan of either South Park or tower defense to get the most out of this game. If you've got an interest in either subject--or, ideally, both--there are much worse ways to spend 800 points on Xbox Live Arcade.    
41 Comments
Posted by Skillface

inb4 "HIGHER THAN BRUTAL LEGEND? FUCK GIANT BOMB I'M NEVER COMING BACK"
 
 Great review, Brad.

Posted by Venatio

Better then I expected it to turn out

Posted by VisariLoyalist

Seriously?!?! this game isn't even up to the standards of fieldrunners, and that's an iphone game

Posted by Sheetsy77

Nice review Brad, I heard mix feelings about it. Might give it a try....

Online
Posted by BaconGames

After playing Defense Grid and seeing the QL, I don't see any reason this Tower Defense game is anything special.  I think the catch here is whether or not you're willing to play another Tower Defense game because its South Park.  Given the relative volume of this type of game, you could scratch the TD with a free game, watch an episode of South Park and call it a day.  
 
My biggest problem is really no room for the control to really flourish.  Anyone else notice during the QL that they kept blaming themselves and not the game?  I personally would have done the opposite but that's me.
 
This isn't too fair given that I'm not going off playing the game itself but honestly if you want Tower Defense, you can find better ones out there.

Posted by Vinchenzo

Defense Grid is a way better tower defense. I would recommend that over South Park any day.

Posted by Bigandtasty

Craaaab people. Craaaab people.
 
Taste like crab, talk like people.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Woah, what was with that last sentence? The review seemed to be positive, and the score was as well, so why the "well, there are worse games on Arcade" thing?

Posted by Happy

I would not have given this a 4, but then I think tower defense is crazy played out.
Posted by Ironknight

I thought this game was horrible

Posted by LordAndrew

Yeah, doesn't look as bad as I expected. With that said, dude, Defense Grid.

Posted by yindotrunks

Looked fun from the quick look, maybe I'll check it out.

Posted by Fei
@Skillface said:

" inb4 "HIGHER THAN BRUTAL LEGEND? FUCK GIANT BOMB I'M NEVER COMING BACK"   Great review, Brad. "

Oh man. I was so gonna whine too.
Posted by RHCPfan24

The Quick Look looked amusing. I will play the trial at least.

Posted by Nomin

This is not so much about tower defense as it is about south park license and how well they incorporated it.

Posted by NoXious

I'm still the type of guy that thinks TD is alot like RTS and the controllers for consoles simply can't handle that type of gameplay well.

Posted by oddWord

Insult to injury

Posted by DrRandle

And of course in spite of giving other good games low scores, he gives a mediocre ass tower defense game on 360 a 4 stars. Sure the fanservice is appreciated, and deep, but that only elevates it to a 3 star, tops. Damnit Brad, you're just not getting it right this year at all.

Posted by Crono

Kinda surprised by this one.  I mean to me a 4/5 is a "worth buying" but the last paragraph makes it sound like "Well, buy it if you're bored, otherwise, you're not missing anything too amazing," sort of deal.

Posted by Grilledcheez

The demo of this sucked

Posted by Light_Bahamut
@Video_Game_King said:
" Woah, what was with that last sentence? The review seemed to be positive, and the score was as well, so why the "well, there are worse games on Arcade" thing? "
Reading comprehension fail.
Posted by NateDogg

I think im getting this....

Posted by toadstule

Wow, there are a lot of haters on here. By no means is this the best tower defense game ever but I had a lot of fun playing it with friends.

Edited by Kohe321

Good review, I might buy it now.

Posted by Pkshields

Do you think the reason this has a higher review score is because Brad is a fan of South Park, whereas Ryan isn't as big a fan of metal? The actual written reviews don't sound that much different.

Posted by Chewii101

I'm going to take this as a 4/5 for people who really enjoy South Park/Tower Defense games. 

Posted by Death_Unicorn

I agree completely with you Brad.
 
Also, the guy on the great wall made me laugh so hard my face hurt.

Posted by Kazona

This may very well be the first tower defense game I ever try my hands at.

Posted by Yummylee

A tolerable, nevermind ''good'' southpark game??? :O The world really does like to glitter its occasional miracle i see.
Posted by nail1080

4 stars? lol! Don't buy this game people. It plays like a flash game. Infact if you have a 360 you probably already have played the trial and know that this game is trash. And you probably already know how to use the internet and can get all the South Park fan stuff for free. Making this game totally pointless and shit.

Posted by Baziel

It's a decent game actually, there is more depth to it than would seem at the first look. The video's etc aren't new but it's still cool to see....bit like a best moments collection or so.

Posted by ieatlions

when comparing this to brutal legend you have to realize that one cost alot more than the other.

Posted by Milkman
@DrRandle said:
" And of course in spite of giving other good games low scores, he gives a mediocre ass tower defense game on 360 a 4 stars. Sure the fanservice is appreciated, and deep, but that only elevates it to a 3 star, tops. Damnit Brad, you're just not getting it right this year at all. "
Try reading instead of just looking at the stars.
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Posted by nail1080
@Milkman said:
" @DrRandle said:
" And of course in spite of giving other good games low scores, he gives a mediocre ass tower defense game on 360 a 4 stars. Sure the fanservice is appreciated, and deep, but that only elevates it to a 3 star, tops. Damnit Brad, you're just not getting it right this year at all. "
Try reading instead of just looking at the stars. "
try spinning things all you want, but 4 stars for that game is a joke. Compared to Splosion Man which got a well deserved 4 stars the game is a piece of trash and just fucks up scores other games have got on the site because now there's no consistency...
Posted by Milkman
@nail1080 said:
" @Milkman said:
" @DrRandle said:
" And of course in spite of giving other good games low scores, he gives a mediocre ass tower defense game on 360 a 4 stars. Sure the fanservice is appreciated, and deep, but that only elevates it to a 3 star, tops. Damnit Brad, you're just not getting it right this year at all. "
Try reading instead of just looking at the stars. "
try spinning things all you want, but 4 stars for that game is a joke. Compared to Splosion Man which got a well deserved 4 stars the game is a piece of trash and just fucks up scores other games have got on the site because now there's no consistency... "
There's no consistency because you don't understand how the system works. Just because this game got 4 stars and Brutal Legend got 3 stars doesn't mean that South Park is a "better game". All the scores are relative to the game that is being reviewed. For an XBLA tower defense game with South Park in it, it's a solid game, according to Brad. I don't understand your Spolsion Man comparisons. They both got 4 stars. Brad enjoyed both. Your point?
 
But once again, the stars aren't the important part...
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Posted by nail1080
@Milkman said:
" @nail1080 said:
" @Milkman said:
" @DrRandle said:
" And of course in spite of giving other good games low scores, he gives a mediocre ass tower defense game on 360 a 4 stars. Sure the fanservice is appreciated, and deep, but that only elevates it to a 3 star, tops. Damnit Brad, you're just not getting it right this year at all. "
Try reading instead of just looking at the stars. "
try spinning things all you want, but 4 stars for that game is a joke. Compared to Splosion Man which got a well deserved 4 stars the game is a piece of trash and just fucks up scores other games have got on the site because now there's no consistency... "
I don't understand your Spolsion Man comparisons. They both got 4 stars. Brad enjoyed both. Your point? 

Splosion Man is an excellent and original game and is everything an XBLA should be (apart from a laggy online mode but you should play it in local co op anyway)
 
South Park does nothing new and you can play flash games just like it right now for free if you use google and your brain. And the South Park name does not justify a higher score for a terrible game...
Edited by Colonel_Fury

I bought this when I had the (swine maybe?) flu. I enjoyed quite a bit, although I have not gone back to it yet. Good review.

Posted by vinull

Many negative comments, but it looks like many didn't play the game.  I've played this to S rank and found it to be a really great game - well worth the $10 bucks.  Solo is good, but having a friend over really makes this a great game - it's a solid 4 stars.
 
As for the Brutal Legend comparison, I think they said it has 12 hours of single player in a $60 game?  I think that's a fair reason for a 3 star / wait til the price drops to buy rating.

Posted by ErrantElement

This game is great. Very high production value and fan service for an XBLA game. Def. 4 stars. To give it any less would be a travesty.

Edited by Getz

4/5, seriously? This game is more uninspired tower defense garbage, with recycled jokes from the TV show that aren't even really funny any more. The "shitty wok" guy was funny the first time, then they brought him back several more times and it was incredibly not funny, and now it's in a bad TD game and it's just fucking upsetting. Don't buy this game, you're only encouraging developers to make more of this type of drek. Go play any of the millions of free TD games like gemcraft or onslaught instead. 

Posted by LordAndrew
@Light_Bahamut said:
" @Video_Game_King said:
" Woah, what was with that last sentence? The review seemed to be positive, and the score was as well, so why the "well, there are worse games on Arcade" thing? "
Reading comprehension fail. "
No, I think he understood exactly what it meant. It just doesn't seem very positive for a four-star review. "There are worse games" is a line you'd use in a three-star review for a game that's middling but not bad.